A Watership Down for the 21st Century — with cats! Inventive, magical and exciting, Franny & Toby is that rare story that gently teaches us that friendship and tolerance make our world a better place — and that a little education goes a long way when life becomes an adventure.
Meet Franny — she is one of the rarest of cats, for she is a cat who can read. She and her high-voiced brother, Toby, are the new cats on the block. When their human “owner” finally lets them outside they start making friends with other animals from the neighborhood: the cats next door, Highlanders Rainbow, Bay, and their TV-addicted brother Moo-Cow (who never comes outside); the cats across the street, Elbee and her three “kits”, Larry, Curly, and Moe (who are from the Southlands and arrived the year before as refugees from the Southie Wars); Bunny the Free Range Rabbit; MacAdam the roadrunner; and an amazing crowd of sky swimmers — the garrulous crow Squawky Shortbill, some enterprising pigeons, and one very serious falcon — The Colonel.
Beautifully crafted by a master storyteller, it’s exactly the sort of book every child should read — and one that kids of every age will love.
There’s a good chance that I picked up this book by mistake. I don’t usually read many children’s stories even though I am involved in that side of our systems and deal with young readers on a daily basis. So when I saw this on my Kindle, I took a chance and started reading, and I’m so glad that I did. Tetman Callis has written a quick, charming adventure that is sure to delight many young readers–especially those who love both books and animals.
This story follows Franny the cat and her brother Toby as they explore the great outdoors for the first time and meet some new friends along the way. There’s a sense of whimsy in their adventure that reminds me of some of my favorite childhood classics which always makes for such a fun reading experience.
As for the reason I likely wouldn’t have considered reading this book initially and the reason I hesitate to include it in our system. This cover simply isn’t where it needs to be in order to draw the attention of both younger readers and their parents. The cover features a really very cute hand drawn image, but it looks more like something that a child fan of the story would have come up with than something in line with the other books on our shelves right now.
Still, if you’re willing to see past the cover (and you know what people say about that) I would absolutely recommend this as a great bedtime read for families.